Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It causes abnormal interpretation of reality and may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning.
Schizophrenia symptoms can differ from person to person and the severity, duration and frequency of symptoms can vary. Symptoms of schizophrenia can include,
Hallucinations – see , hear, smell, taste, feel things that do not exist
Delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality
Bizarre behavior or abnormal movements
Muddle speech based on hallucinations or delusions
Losing interest in everyday activities
Loss of interest in self-care, personal hygiene
Social interaction avoidance cognitive symptoms eg. problems in processing information to make decisions, problems in attention-concentration and memory
When to see doctor
When schizophrenic symptoms was recognized, special consultation is recommended. People with schizophrenia often lack awareness that their difficulties are caused by mental disorder that requires medical attention. So family or friends should offer them help.
When to get emergency help
Suicidal thoughts and behavior are common among schizophrenic people, and emergency help is needed.
Medical examination to rule out substance misuse or other neurological or medical illnesses whose symptoms mimic schizophrenia should be performed firstly. Some lab tests or imaging studies might be needed. Psychiatric evaluation and diagnostic criteria by standard tools/ tests is used for diagnostic confirmation and treatment plan.
Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment.
Psychosocial interventions eg.
- Psychotherapy to normalize thought patterns
- Social skill training to improve communication, social interactions, ability to participate in daily activities
- Family therapy
Hospitalization is needed in some cases /episode of symptom
Electroconvulsive therapy as indicated